Saturday, June 15, 2013

My impressions of "Man of Steel"


Metropolis must be really, really big. Because they have LOTS of buildings to spare.

Okay, fine, there's a "Jenny" but no one actually says her last name, so all you fanboys can just chill out.

This is going to sound like no matter how I put it but: Russell Crowe makes a great artificial intelligence.

Can Hollywood not find an actual WOMAN to play Lois Lane, rather than these snub-nosed little girls?  Their last two LLs didn't seem as though they could intimate a copy boy, let alone high-ranking military and politicians.  Superman is finally portrayed as appropriately powerful; I wish Lois had been, too.

That said, good on the writers for letting Lo-Lo be a smart enough reporter to figure out who Superman was before she even met him.  THAT was what made Lois impressive.

I must confess, I believe that if someone saves your life at the risk of their own, you should probably go to a basketball game with them if they ask nicely.

One of the best things about Cavill's Superman: he doesn't talk much.  He's all about action.  He has an occasional "and that's why you get earthquakes in California from time to time" speech as the plot requires, but on the whole he refrains from gratuitous chatter and commentary.  And when he does talk he gets to the point immediately.

Did Pete...?  Okay, someone needs to tell me what happened with Pete.

Perry White has an earring. BWHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!  Earrings are the new cigars.  Eagerly awaiting a re-telling of that classic tale, "The Super-Earrings of Perry White".

CAVILL IS A HUGE FREAKING BEAST OMFG.  Thank you; that is what Superman should look like.



Rusty? LMAO.  Someone on staff has a very good memory.

I don't envy the Heroclix designer who got the short straw and had to come up with dials for Lara and Kelex.

The set piece where the Jor-El AI is telling the story of Krypton via liquid metal WPA-style friezes was not only beautiful, haunting, and riveting it was an ingenious way to evoke the period of the Superman character's literary birth.  Kudos to the production team for even THINKING of it, let alone making it happen.

Superman is powerful.  Very, very powerful.  Wow.

Great job in showing that every super punch or huge object hurled had real-world physical ramifications, like concussive blast areas and shrapnel. Too often in other films we'd get video-game physics instead.

Kenny Braverman?! BWHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Priceless.

To whatever British people were involved in this production; next time, please ask an American how "Kelex" should be pronounced.

Superman catching a falling Lois Lane? Check.

For those of you who cheered; you DO realize that that's a rig, not a pick up, and that it almost certainly belongs to a blameless trucking company owner, and not the driver, right?

So, who programmed the Jor-El AI with a 'leather clothing sound effect'? Because that seems like an odd thing for a hologram to have.

There was a nice steady drumbeat other regular humans doing very heroic things despite their vulnerabilities.  This was very welcome.  As a result, Superman would up seeming so human precisely because he IS heroic.

Okay, I know the kind of big city folk who live Metropolis tend to be kind of blaise, but really now...  How many hours of alien invasion / gravity wave pounding / superperson battle does it take before they leave the damned area? 

My first thought upon seeing Clark Kent on fire was, "Oh I feel EXACTLY the same way!"




Pa Kent's demise was unlikely and convenient and, yes, very comic book-y.  But it IS a comic book story.  And I'm not ashamed to say that in the two seconds in took me to figure out what he was saying/doing, that tears came to my eyes.

Lombard? Didn't expect THAT.

I felt for Zod during his final speech.  Although it didn't exonerate him for his wrong-doings and immoral choices, he was clearly no Faora.  And it made you realize concretely the failure of Krypton's caste system; we're given the impression that Zod didn't have a real chance at being anything OTHER than Zod.

You've surely already heard praise for how well the film does in conveying the power and scope of Superman-level battles.  I'll aim my specific praise at how superSPEED is conveyed.  Even though it's clear that the Kryptonians are moving superfast, I never lost track of what they were doing.  This is due to the filmmakers rhythm for it: pause, consider what to do, DOITINSANELYFAST; pause, observe result, repeat.  Thanks to that masterful filmic choice I could follow the super speed battles better than I could the fights in the recent Batman trilogy.

Is it my imagination, or is Krypton clearly a metaphor for European colonialism?  It makes for an interesting commentary if it is.

"So, all we have to do is stick the key in Artifact A, throw it at Artifact B, and all the threats semi-magically disappear?" Ladies and gentlemen, COMIC BOOK SCIENCE.

The choice of having Pa Kent trust his son, but not necessary humanity seems counter-intuitive until you see the film.  But in context it makes so much more sense this way: Jor-El is the idealist; Jonathan is the realist.

Cavill does a marvelous job playing Superman with exactly the right quiet confidence.  Really, it was amazing.  I kept thinking, "Why, yes; that's just how Superman should seem."

Hey, is that.... Zod kneeling before the Son of Jor-El?  Nice touch.



Monday, June 10, 2013

Spare me your Wrath

In a recent interview entitled "Batman Writers Look to the Future", John Layman, writer of Detective Comics, said Scott Snyder's Batman was "the driving force" behind the Batman books, whereas Detective Comics is more the "Law and Order" of the Bat-books. "What I've got coming up is a character called The Wrath," said Layman. "He is the anti-Batman. He's a rich playboy industrialist, but instead of fighting crooks, he's killing cops. It's fun to play with a dark reflection of Batman and then have them face each other.

The Wrath. Ugh.

The Wrath was old news when he was introduced in 1984.



Re-introducing the Wrath is many things, but it sure ain't "looking to the future".

We don't need another Anti-Batman, like...


The Reaper


1987


The Phantasm


1993

Prometheus


1998

Cat-Man


 1950

Deathstroke

Deadshot

1950

Owlman


1964

The Talon


2011

Killer Moth


1951


Really, after Killer Moth, all other anti-Batmen are superfluous.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

It's his party and he''ll laugh if he wants to.

Of all the henchman on the Batman television show, I think the Joker's men had it the worst.

I mean, you'd think working for Cesar Romero's Joker would be sweet.  He makes everything a big fabulous production, he's never in a bad mood, and all above all he believes that the job of being a criminal should be FUN.

And it is. For him.  NOBODY enjoys ANYTHING more than Romero's Joker enjoy just being the Joker. Ye gods, just WATCH IT:



There are no drugs that can do that for you.  Joker is high on LIFE, people.


If you did not laugh at some point during that, you are made of much sterner stuff than I. The part with the red fish always gets me.

But it seems like a different story for his henchmen.  It's like they're the unwilling guests at the Joker's party.  They never seem to laugh or enjoy themselves; they're just sullen background noise.  Whenever the Joker is in the room there is no excess glee to be had; Joker is having ALL POSSIBLE FUN at that moment, and there's none left for you.  If he even notices that, he's vaguely surprised at it and not all at concerned.  If you don't get the joke, it's you loss.


"Hello, tobacconist? Have you, by any chance, 
Prince Albert in a can....?"


And those outfits; ugh!  Even as a tiny gay child I was puzzled that while all the other supercriminals gave their henchfolk nifty matching outfits to wear, the Joker' gave his guys crap.  The outfits don't match, the colors clash badly, and there is nothing thematic about them at all.  Who wears caps with mock turtlenecks under sweater vests?  The Newsboy Legion?  And what's with the blue and red, is this the Superman Revenge Squad?  WTF, Joker?  

I think half the time he's just laughing at how stupid they look.  "These dunderheads will wear anything I tell them to!  I got those outfits from the dumpster behind JCPenny, EhwhoooOOOOYAhHAHAHAHa!"


"I can make anything look good! Enjoy your sweater-vests, my lustre-less lackeys!"


Still, we must remain true to the show.  So in making Joker henchmen tokens for the forthcoming "Batman 1966" Heroclix set, Israeli illustrator Aviv Itzcovitz gives us these (sadly) perfectly accurate renditions (although mercifully sparing us any bright blue and red combos).  For how to use, see this link.